Talking about... MATT DILLON

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Talking about... MATT DILLON

Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:35 pm

I was pleased to see Donald Pleasance get some props the other week...so I thought I'd carry on with my sometime series of random threads about actors/resses whose work I enjoy.

I've got a lot of time for Matt Dillon and pretty much anything he stars in (ok....maybe not Herbie...but beyond that I'm struggling. And when I do have kids, hell - he'll be the one thing that makes Herbie bearable I reckon).

He's one of those actors who, if I see his name on the DVD cover then I'll probably get the film out, even if I know nothing about it. I did this the other day with a small film called "Factotum" - which was a film that on watching I wasn't so taken with...but is growing on me with the passing day. The only reason for that would be the central performance from Dillon. I mean, here is a guy that can act and act well. He's tall...got that whole matinee idol looks deal going if he wants, big natural smile - the works. But more often than not you're going to find him in a blue jeans role, and normally an unsympathetic one at that.

The first film I was aware of Matt Dillon would have been "The Outsiders", without a shadow of a doubt. At the time that film got a lot of interest for being one the definitive "brat pack" movies - but a lot of the actors in that had either 2-dimensional (Swayze) or non-existent (Cruise - hahaha) roles to work with. It says something for his [Dillon's] ability that even back then he was the one out of all of them who was entrusted with the role of "Dally" Winston - and he PWND it. Being pretty young the first time I watched it, I thought the fights were cool...didn't have a lot of time for the "Stay Gold" story with Daniel-san and Howell...in fact, I'm embarrassed to say that most of that films serious points went WHOOOSH right over my immature head.

Apart from Dillon's character. You sat up...you took notice. And he didn't offer you any easy ways out either. Forget the script - I'm talking performance here.

Not long after, at a time when his peers were calling up John Hughes...flying airplanes...dancing dirtily.... he went on to star in the seminal "Drugstore Cowboy" - a film that deserves its own thread, to be honest.

But again we found Dillon in one of those complicated anti-hero roles. He plays "Bob" with the right mix of dark humour and edgy discomfort. Showing a man of lost responsibilities desperately searching for a personal dignity amongst the shreds of his life. Dillon was 25 when this film was released and yet it is as mature a performance as you will see from the eighties, with few exceptions.

In between he starred in Rumblefish, again a film that should be seen if missed.

Come the Nineties, Dillon started what I perceived as paying the price for not taking the roles his other co-stars from Outsiders had done...and he seemed to be on-screen far less often. But although perhaps the quality of picture he appeared in diminished a little, Matt Dillon's own ability did not. I remember seeing him in an early Minghella film called "Mr. Wonderful". I also remember Ebert absolutely destroying that movie on its release. Its true..it was formulaic...it wasn't too unpredictable and so on. And in a way, this is another of Dillon's skills - he can take average fare like this and turn it into something quite memorable. Ably supported by William Hurt and Annabella Sciorra, Dillon managed to make a quite unbelievable little love story quite touching - perfect for those late winter duvet-sharing evenings.

Yeah yeah - call me my lover - go on. So what - who hasn't given themselves over to a cheesey film once in a while? They can still be bad or good for what they are - and Dillon made Mr Wonderful exactly that, wonderful.

Happily, he doesn't always go for the heavy stuff - after the bleeder scene I think his turn in "There's Something About Mary" was the next high point of that movie for me...although there are oh-so-many.

And of course, most recently he had a lauded turn in CRASH....but I guess I so don't want to go there again (waits for John-Locke's disdain :wink: )

Back in 2002 he wrote, starred in and directed a film called "City of Ghosts", co-starring Stellan Skarsgard, Gerard Depardieu and James Caan. I didn't know that until checking a few details on him and on the strength of the cast alone I'm interested in this film, so if any of you Zoners out there have seen it, could you let me know what it was like?

A talented, brave and honest actor who could well go on to be a great, if he isn't already. 8)
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Postby tapehead on Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:53 pm

The capped teeth and moustache in 'Mary' fooled me for a while, but it was Dillon, loved him in Wild things too - his turn in Crash is still the part I have the hardest time being apalled about - geez Doc, I still have three pages on Broken Flowers to work into something presentable, dont get me started....
The thing I saw him in that reminded me he was in the running for 'best actor of his generation'? Factotum, as Bukowski ( or rather his literary incarnation)
this weekend, unless work comes up... I've got a bone to pick...
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:04 pm

heh - a bone to pick?

This isn't a BURBS moment is it? :D

You know...I half expect to have my own literary ass handed to me on a plate about not being immediately overawed by Factotum. I think I've done that film a small disservice and its been bugging me all week.

I'm glad someone else saw it - be interested in your views (after Broken Flowers, of course). Where I've got to with my own strange reaction is that:

a) I think it helps to quite closely linked to the American scene to fully get that Beat mentality, its quite specific to not just a time but place as well....

ummm......but seeing as you yourself are an Ozzie I'd better quickly move on to number 2, which is more likely the case....

b) ...I don't always react to well to the really heavy stuff...not from an intellectual point of view..more a "I could be that guy please stop holding up the mirror" kind of way :oops:

Mind you...this from a guy who lists "Leaving Las Vegas" in his all-time top ten.

I'm a mass of fucking contradictions. All donations kindly received.
Last edited by Doc Holliday on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby monorail77 on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:17 pm

Yeah, I'm liking the Matt Dillon, though his eyebrows still scare me a little.

Saw him ahwile back in a neat little hostage-taking film called "Albino Alligator". I just checked out the stats again on IMDb and, wow, what a pettigree this film has:

Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, .Gary Sinise, Viggo Mortensen, John Spencer, M. Emmet Walshm Joe Mantegna and directed by Kevin Spacey. I remember it a a nice tight drama, but I don't think it made any money or got a big release. I recommend it if you haven't seen it.

Also, gottal love Dillon's actor chracter from In And Out, especially that Oscar acceptance speech. Best Outting Ever!
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:22 pm

monorail77 wrote:Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, .Gary Sinise, Viggo Mortensen, John Spencer, M. Emmet Walshm Joe Mantegna and directed by Kevin Spacey. I remember it a a nice tight drama, but I don't think it made any money or got a big release. I recommend it if you haven't seen it.


The films I know about and still haven't seen embarrasses me at times....but this (points at above) is exactly why I love the Zone. I doubt I'd ever have heard of that film having already missed it on its release.

Thanks Mono - I will try and track down a copy, with a cast like that I need to see this movie.

Be good to see John Spencer one more time too.. :cry:

Thank you Mono
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Postby monorail77 on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:29 pm

My pleasure. I hope you like it.

And I agree, one of the best attributes of the Zone is the expansion of horizons and choices. Long Live The Zone!!
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Postby DocPazuzu on Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:57 pm

Back in 1998 I worked in the history section at one of the big Barnes & Noble stores in NYC (the Lincoln Center one) and Matt Dillon came in. He was looking for books dealing with Cambodia and Pol Pot, no doubt doing research for City of Ghosts, and was very friendly and polite. He seemed like a really nice guy.
Anyway, I hope that bit of pesonal trivia helps accentuate your man-love for the dude.

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Postby RockyDennis on Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:40 pm

My Bodyguard is one of my favorite early eighties movies. His role as Moody inspired me to be an ass for a year or so when I was in Elementary School
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Postby cap on Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:59 pm

RockyDennis wrote:My Bodyguard is one of my favorite early eighties movies. His role as Moody inspired me to be an ass for a year or so when I was in Elementary School


Hahahahahah!!!!!! That is funny as anything.

Matt Dillon did that disappearing act for about 10 years, but has come back strong.

Still remember his best in "The Outsiders" Lets do it for Johnny... Priceless....
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Postby cap on Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:59 pm

RockyDennis wrote:My Bodyguard is one of my favorite early eighties movies. His role as Moody inspired me to be an ass for a year or so when I was in Elementary School


Hahahahahah!!!!!! That is funny as anything.

Matt Dillon did that disappearing act for about 10 years, but has come back strong.

Still remember his best in "The Outsiders" Lets do it for Johnny... Priceless....
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:09 pm

"Let's do it for Johnny!" Good Shit indeed. 8)

Unfortunately Matt Dillon never really "pop'd" as an actor for me. I am glad he has made a strong revival for himself, but more or less he is 'meh' for me.
Maybe, I missed something along the way...
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Postby Vicarious on Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:50 pm

He's good in everything he's in, even if the film itself sucks. Although, he plays pretty much the same character.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Sun Aug 27, 2006 3:09 pm

Let's put it this way; he's a contemporary of the likes of Tom Cruise and is a better actor and more handsome, to boot. He deserves more credit than he's thus received.
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Postby Retardo_Montalban on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:44 pm

I"m just gonna throw this ot there. "One Night at McCools" and "to Die For'. He plays a loser very well, yet so sympathetic. I think his voise or accent hinders his choice of roles alot. He has the voice of a used car salesman, too slick and deep.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:48 pm

I think you are most likely right Retardo...the same voice served him well in Factotum.

I haven't seen "one Night in McCools" - so tell me - good film, mixed bag or flop? as many or as few reasons to substantiate whatever your answer is, as ever, gratefully received....
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:50 pm

The Outsiders. Most of that movie sucked balls. But that scene where Dally goes apeshit in the convenience store was just perfect. Some of the best acting in Dillons career. It was simultaniously tragic, intense, and hillarious. A perfect expression of his character.
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Postby Retardo_Montalban on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:54 pm

I don't like to lend myself to reviews, because my criteria for being entertained seems very different from everyone elses. The movie had some great characters with one of them snowball plots that keeps getting more and more intense until John Goodman goes crazy and starts shooting up the place. I thought it was great. I've never enjoyed a Paul Reiser performance until this movie and that says alot. Live Tyler is also painfully gorgeous. It's totally demented and doesn't have any redeemable characters, wich is aces in my book.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:56 pm

Sounds fucked up enough to be great to me.....
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